In a sense, the Bamford x Bremont collaboration has been in the works for some time, even before the main players thought about the project. There has, in the last decade or so, been a notable resurgence in the British watchmaking industry. The new British Alliance of Watch and Clock Makers, founded in 2020, is a trade body with a mission to encourage and guide the modern renewal of watch manufacture on our shores. A report they commissioned from KPMG noted that this remarkable resurrection is being driven by young companies and there can be no more visible evidence of such than Bremont and Bamford Watch Department.

    Both were formed in the last two decades and have been at the vanguard of everything the developing industry has represented in Britain. In a sense, at last, a collaborative venture has resulted and produced a watch that is stunning in form and shows what the players in this country can now accomplish, emerging from the shadows cast by the watch industry elsewhere in the world.

    The Bremont x Bamford collaborative team: brothers Giles and Nick English with George Bamford (in the middle).

    Over the past ten years, both companies have been establishing their foothold. Bremont has gone from using Swiss base ebauche (blank movements) that were finished and cased to their own designs, to a fully functional modern watch factory, called “The Wing” in Henley on the Thames, making their own movements in house. Bamford Watch Department has equally gone from a side hustle by George, where he plated and re-designed high-end Swiss watches such as Rolex and Patek Philippe at the request of individual clients, to establish a contract with LVMH for the production of limited editions and the release of his own brand watches using Swiss industry movements.

    George Bamford has proved that an independent company can throw a good punch at the big players in the world of limited edition watches.

    The new Bamford x Bremont S500 Supermarine is the integration of everything that is new and vibrant about this resurgence. The collaboration of two industry brands, complete watch and design are all British. It shows how far watchmaking in the UK has come.

    The base watch in this instance is a dive watch whose name, Supermarine, is a throwback to the 1930s when the British aircraft manufacturer regularly won the Schneider Trophy and where the derivative fighter plane – the Spitfire – captured the hearts and adulation of the populace during the Battle of Britain.

    Detail of the new Bremont x Bamford S500 Supermarine with California dial.

    The S500 watch has a constructed three-part (Trip-Tick) titanium case and a Bremont in-house chronometer-tested movement. The aesthetic look is all George Bamford, black coated throughout, including the rotating bezel, with a special “sandwich” dial. When I spoke with George at the launch event, the whole idea started with a single comment on his part: “why had Bremont not introduced a California dial yet?”

    The design used on the face of the Bamford x Bremont watch is termed in the trade as a “California sandwich dial”. For those who are not sure exactly what that means, it consists of Roman numerals on the half top and Arabic at the bottom, where the dial is constructed with a stencil of numbers and hour markers sandwiched with the luminous California blue (yes, that is the name of the colour) material. This style was used in dive watches in the 1930s, although the name “California dial” is reportedly a derivative from a company in the US state that began to re-fit Rolex “Bubbleback” watches with the dials in the 1980s.

    Graphics from the Bamford x Bremont S500 Supermarine launch event, evoking imagery from Len Deighton’s ‘60s classic The Ipcress Files.

    The retro military visual to the watch was exploited at the launch with promotional material based around the 1960s Len Deighton’s spy classic: The Ipcress Files. This is the era that saw Britain’s re-emergence from wartime restrictions, where Stephan Archetti’s photo of Michael Caine throwing a punch encapsulated the mood of the times, and where the anti-hero figure of “Harry Palmer” triumphs over the establishment through insubordination and bloody-minded determination. It is probably not lost on the Bamford x Bremont creators: George, Giles and Nick, that in a sense, their collaborative watch is intrinsically the same statement to the watch industry.

    Words: Dr Andrew Hildreth

    • Show Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    comment *

    • name *

    • email *

    • website *

    Ads

    ads

    You May Also Like

    Turning Back Time: Greubel Forsey’s

    The definition of handmade (English for fait main) in the Swiss watch industry is ...

    The definition of handmade (English for fait main) in the Swiss watch industry is becoming a nebulous term. Increasingly, the …

    Bentley Bentayga 2020 Edition

    When I was a little boy, aged about four and a quarter, I drew ...

    When I was a little boy, aged about four and a quarter, I drew a picture of “mummy in a …

    Aston Martin DB5 Continuation

    Anyone who, like myself, hails from a childhood where James Bond WAS Sean Connery ...

    Anyone who, like myself, hails from a childhood where James Bond WAS Sean Connery (RIP) – the suave, stylish, Martini-swilling …

    BMW 2 Series Gran Coupè

    BMW has launched its 2 Series Gran Coupè, aimed at a younger driver new ...

    BMW has launched its 2 Series Gran Coupè, aimed at a younger driver new to the brand, who wants a …

    Impossible Makes Incredible

    Yacht design has become increasingly imaginative and futuristic. What was once a relatively staid world ...

    Yacht design has become increasingly imaginative and futuristic. What was once a relatively staid world of one design fits all, irrespective …

    SILENT 55

    Last autumn, SILENT-YACHTS introduced the SILENT 55, the first and only oceangoing solar-electric production ...

    Last autumn, SILENT-YACHTS introduced the SILENT 55, the first and only oceangoing solar-electric production catamaran in the world. The yacht …

    New Range Rover SV

    It is not often that my jaw drops at the unveiling of a new ...

    It is not often that my jaw drops at the unveiling of a new car – these days changes from …

    Memento Mori

    It was a pact of Faustian proportions: learn to measure time so you can ...

    It was a pact of Faustian proportions: learn to measure time so you can organise your days, weeks, years, your …

    Land Rover Discovery Sport Landmark

    Now in its 5th generation, the story of the Land Rover Discovery goes back ...

    Now in its 5th generation, the story of the Land Rover Discovery goes back 30 years, to the mid 80s, …